News

Public Forum on Transborder Dawei Road Link

Thailand and Dawei Special Economic Zone: Road Link to Kilometer Zero. By Siamrath Thai News, 2019.
Thailand and Dawei Special Economic Zone: Road Link to Kilometer Zero. By Siamrath Thai News, 2019.

Thailand and Dawei Special Economic Zone: Road Link to Kilometer Zero

Date: 24 August 2019,
Time: 13:30,
Venue: Multi-function Room, 1st floor, Bangkok Art and Culture Centre.

Agenda:

Ashley Scott Kelly, Faculty of Architecture, The University of Hong Kong
Counter-assessment of impacts and history for the Dawei road link, 1995-2019.

Saw Frankie Abreu, Tenasserim River & Indigenous People Network (TRIP NET) and representatives from impacted communities
Voices from communities on the ground.

Teerachai Sancharoenkijthaworn, The Mekong Butterfly
Dawei Road Link: Hidden Cost of Impacts and Affected Community's Solving Mechanism/Measure.

Regan Pairojmahakij, World Wildlife Fund (WWF)
Biodiversity along the Dawei Road and measures to protect it.

Naruemon Thabchumpon, Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University
Transnational Politics, Local Communities and Human Security in Ethnic-controlled Area: A Case Study of the Dawei Road Link Project in Tanintharyi Region.

Luntharimar Longcharoen, independent researcher
Moderator

Hosted by SEM and Extra Territorial Obligations (ETOs) Watch

Abstract for Ashley's talk

Counter-assessment of impacts and history for the Dawei road link, 1995-2019
Ashley Scott Kelly, Faculty of Architecture, The University of Hong Kong

Environmental impact assessments bear the responsibility of assessing, negotiating, and ensuring accountability and deterrence of socioeconomic risks and environmental degradation. Most international standards call for cumulative impact analysis, which goes beyond the immediate physical impacts of construction and operation. However, for projects with long histories, here namely "projects" for the Dawei road link beginning in 1997, 2010, 2015, and 2019, what are most impactful are the ways these projects have incrementally, substantially, and sometimes violently rewritten these histories, albeit through the often technical languages of planning, engineering, ecology, and social science. In this talk, based on analysis of thousands of pages of company reports, over 150 unique sources, and high-resolution commercial satellite imagery, I look inside the development process for clues of how to better assess the complex past and future impacts of infrastructure on our environment. I summarize a two-decade history of the Dawei road corridor and argue that more rigorous tools and frameworks are necessary to combat the amnesia of infrastructure development, both in terms of historical narratives and technical knowledge. Strategic analysis and sustainability require longer-term studies, larger landscape extents, and deeper awareness of the development process.

Slide: Expanding the scope of landscape assessment. By Ashley Scott Kelly, 2019.
Slide: Expanding the scope of landscape assessment. By Ashley Scott Kelly, 2019.
Slide: Expanding the scope of wildlife assessment. By Ashley Scott Kelly, 2019.
Slide: Expanding the scope of wildlife assessment. By Ashley Scott Kelly, 2019.
Slide: Background research for History of the Dawei road link. By Ashley Scott Kelly, 2019.
Slide: Background research for History of the Dawei road link. By Ashley Scott Kelly, 2019.
Slide: Alignments and ESIA consistency. By Ashley Scott Kelly, 2019.
Slide: Alignments and ESIA consistency. By Ashley Scott Kelly, 2019.
Slide: Construction activity and satellite image availability. By Ashley Scott Kelly, 2019.
Slide: Construction activity and satellite image availability. By Ashley Scott Kelly, 2019.
Slide: Construction activity and satellite image availability. By Ashley Scott Kelly, 2019.
Slide: Construction activity and satellite image availability. By Ashley Scott Kelly, 2019.
Slide: What is a "project"? Does the Dawei road link "exist"?. By Ashley Scott Kelly, 2019.
Slide: What is a "project"? Does the Dawei road link "exist"?. By Ashley Scott Kelly, 2019.

www.designforconservation.org/news/public-forum-on-transborder-dawei-road-link

Posted by: (Design for Conservation)


WWF releases Nature in Peril report

WWF releases new report, Nature in peril: The risk to forests and wildlife from the Dawei-Htee Khee Road, which places imminent threats to the ecological connectivity of Dawna-Tenasserim Landscape within a longer two-decade struggle between infrastructure and sustainability.

Dawei road project poses risks to threatened species: WWF (Myanmar Times)

Download report:
Nature in peril: The risk to forests and wildlife from the Dawei-Htee Khee Road

Nature in peril: The risk to forests and wildlife from the Dawei-Htee Khee Road, 2019.
Nature in peril: The risk to forests and wildlife from the Dawei-Htee Khee Road, 2019.
Nature in peril: The risk to forests and wildlife from the Dawei-Htee Khee Road, 2019.
Nature in peril: The risk to forests and wildlife from the Dawei-Htee Khee Road, 2019.
Nature in peril: The risk to forests and wildlife from the Dawei-Htee Khee Road, 2019.
Nature in peril: The risk to forests and wildlife from the Dawei-Htee Khee Road, 2019.

This report is the fourth in a series of reports that have been published between 2015-2018.

The first report published in 2015, highlighted the need to consider information about ecosystem services, land-use change, and wildlife in the planning of the road and the broader land-use planning of the area (A Better road to Dawei—Protecting wildlife, sustaining nature, benefiting people). A design manual, published in 2016 as the second report, showcased design options for accommodating wildlife crossings and bio-engineering techniques for slope stabilization as well as alignment options to minimize deforestation and maximize social and environmental benefits (Design manual—Building a more sustainable road to Dawei).

Based on a request from the road developer in 2016 regarding the identification of wildlife movement patterns in the landscape, WWF worked with conservation organizations active in the area and regional mammal experts to identify critical crossing areas for mammals based on modelling (Wildlife crossing—Locating species’ movement corridors in Tanintharyi, published in 2016). This fourth report specifically brings together several years of work that has looked in-depth at what is at stake in this important ecological corridor system—a system that keeps key forested areas in Thailand and Myanmar connected and which the Dawei-Htee Khee road cuts across. This report outlines the history of the road and the newly approved 2018 Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) of the Dawei-Htee Khee two-lane road project.

Authors:
Hanna Helsingen (WWF-Myanmar), Ashley Scott Kelly (University of Hong Kong), Grant Connette (Smithsonian Institution), Paing Soe (WWF-Myanmar), Nirmal Bhagabati (WWF-US), Regan Pairojmahakij (WWF-Greater Mekong), and Nilanga Jayasinghe (WWF-US)

www.designforconservation.org/news/wwf-releases-nature-peril-report

Posted by: (Design for Conservation)


Studio Laos Video 2018

"Strategic Landscape Planning for the Greater Mekong" builds on five years of design-based experiential learning across mainland Southeast Asia by the Division of Landscape Architecture. This year, focusing on the regional impacts of China's Belt and Road Initiative in northern Laos, students spend one term engaging issues of development vis-à-vis landscape architecture to define problems and produce innovative planning proposals. During this process, students develop and deliver a 180-page research report to civil society and international NGOs, conduct fieldwork, individually design future scenarios through large-format maps, diagrams and models, and have their work juried by a cross-disciplinary panel of experts.

Click here to view course synopsis and student work

HKU Studio Laos: Strategic Landscape Planning for the Greater Mekong, 2019.
HKU Studio Laos: Strategic Landscape Planning for the Greater Mekong, 2019.

www.designforconservation.org/news/studio-laos-video-2018

Posted by: (Design for Conservation)


Environmental Futures Studio: Hong Kong

Master of Landscape Architecture students presented their projects for Environmental Futures Studio: Design, nature and the erosion of conservation in Hong Kong. Jury members included representatives from Hong Kong's Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, The Nature Conservancy (TNC), Greenpeace, HKU ecologists and land development experts, and local civil society, including Designing Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Wetland Conservation Association.

During the term, students were immersed in the methods and tools of other disciplines engaging development, including: 1) Landscape and biodiversity modelling techniques for measuring connectivity, fragmentation, and species richness, questioning issues of data quality, scientific bias, reductive methodologies, and disciplinary blindspots; and 2) Concepts from anthropologist Tim Choy's book "Ecologies of Comparison: An Ethnography of Endangerment in Hong Kong", in which students developed critical understandings of public participation and environmental advocacy, including expertise, evidence, discourse analysis, counter-knowledge, and universal values. These exercises were complemented by seminars on Hong Kong's legal, planning and assessment tools related to conservation, as well as discussions on disciplinary boundaries of sustainability sciences to help students better articulate their own expertise as landscape architects and planners.

For the second half of the term, the 12 students designed scenarios of development and environmental value in major conservation issues in Hong Kong. Some examples included:

  • Redrawing ecological baselines of agricultural and wetland development sites in Yuen Long, based on more thorough understandings of specific sites' environmental histories;
  • Salvaging science and challenging transparency through scenarios of developmental and environmental uncertainty in Tai Ho Wan;
  • Problematizing the timescales of ecology and development planning (e.g., public participation, judicial review, ecological assessment) at eight sites of green belt conversion in Tai Po;
  • Debating conservation outcomes under hypothetical agricultural land banking and release mechanisms in Yuen Long, triggered through enforcement of high and low EIA standards;
  • Exploring alternatives to habitat-based ecological assessment at Sha Lo Tung; and
  • Challenging definitions of "conservation" and "public" through priority-setting, monitoring, and alternative management of landscapes along country park edges.
  • Thank you to students and their panelists for an engaging discussion!

    Click here to view course synopsis and student work

Beyond the baseline: Problematizing biodiversity assessment of agricultural and wetland sites in Hong Kong. By CHONG Yan Suen Ceas, 2018.
Beyond the baseline: Problematizing biodiversity assessment of agricultural and wetland sites in Hong Kong. By CHONG Yan Suen Ceas, 2018.
Beyond the baseline: Problematizing biodiversity assessment of agricultural and wetland sites in Hong Kong. By CHONG Yan Suen Ceas, 2018.
Beyond the baseline: Problematizing biodiversity assessment of agricultural and wetland sites in Hong Kong. By CHONG Yan Suen Ceas, 2018.
Salvaging science and challenging transparency through scenarios of developmental and environmental uncertainty in Tai Ho valley. By FAN Junyi Roy, 2018.
Salvaging science and challenging transparency through scenarios of developmental and environmental uncertainty in Tai Ho valley. By FAN Junyi Roy, 2018.
"Conservation" and "public" in the environmental future of Hong Kong's Country Parks. By CHAN Ka Ying May, 2018.
"Conservation" and "public" in the environmental future of Hong Kong's Country Parks. By CHAN Ka Ying May, 2018.
Illegal opportunity: Speculative scenarios of conservation-oriented development in Sai Kung Country Park enclaves. By ZHOU Yifan Mia, 2018.
Illegal opportunity: Speculative scenarios of conservation-oriented development in Sai Kung Country Park enclaves. By ZHOU Yifan Mia, 2018.

www.designforconservation.org/news/environmental-futures-studio-hong-kong

Posted by: (Design for Conservation)


Belt and Road Workshop with Duke University

Duke-Kunshan University, together with Duke University's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions and Center for International and Global Studies, hosted a conference on Environmental, Geostrategic, and Economic Dimensions of the Silk Road Economic Belt from 12-17 October, 2018. Following two days on economic and policy dimensions, a three-day session called "Developing Spatial Solutions to Environmental Impacts of Infrastructure Development" brought together participants from government, academia, multilateral banks, NGOs, and technology firms with ongoing projects and studies related to China's Belt and Road Initiative. Ashley Scott Kelly presented "Engaging infrastructure development through critical design practice: Campaigns in Southeast Asia", which showcased his geospatial-focused projects on design and impact assessment.

Abstract for Ashley's talk

Engaging infrastructure development through critical design practice: Campaigns in Southeast Asia
Ashley Scott Kelly, Faculty of Architecture, The University of Hong Kong

Large-scale development, such as road-building, often progresses slowly, outlasting governments, evading principled environmental legislation, and changing investors, scopes, and designs. Conservation efforts here require sustained momentum and diverse forms of practice and expertise that can facilitate informed decision-making, importantly in the absence of otherwise crucial information. Through a cultural-technological campaign, which includes a species-specific road design manual, downscaled wildlife movement and ecosystem services modelling, 3D-printed stakeholder engagement models, and automated geospatial investigations and counter-assessments, this lecture will showcase transdisciplinary approaches and opportunities for landscape architecture to proactively engage development. Such engagement, whether it's applied, advocacy-, activist-, or action-oriented in development, raises important contradictions that result in considerable institutional, academic, disciplinary, and practical challenges. Carried out by landscape designers in collaboration with policy experts, biologists and geographers, this work offers an urgently needed model of design collaboration and has been disseminated to national and regional levels of government, developers, civil society, and agencies across South and Southeast Asia.

Developing Spatial Solutions to Environmental Impacts of Infrastructure Development Workshop

Duke-Kunshan University Belt and Road Workshop, 2018.
Duke-Kunshan University Belt and Road Workshop, 2018.

www.designforconservation.org/news/belt-road-workshop-with-duke-university

Posted by: (Design for Conservation)


Landscape Connectivity Workshop

Ashley Scott Kelly delivered a talk titled "Critical Linkages" at the "Landscape Connectivity Workshop" hosted by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-India) in New Delhi on 7-9 May. The three-day event brought together experts from India, Nepal, China, Russia, Mongolia, Bhutan, Myanmar, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia, Spain and the United States to work with more than 60 representatives from the IUCN, the Global Tiger Forum, governments and international conservation NGOs. The workshop addressed issues of identification and design, lessons from long term corridor programs, monitoring corridors, corridor policy, genetics and climate change, and emerging fields in connectivity conservation for habitats ranging from snow leopard and elephant to rhino and tiger landscapes. Ashley presented on his current work developing guidelines for linkage modelling for complex landscapes under varying levels of data availability, development transparency and expertise.

WWF Landscape Connectivity Workshop

WWF Landscape Connectivity Workshop, 2018.
WWF Landscape Connectivity Workshop, 2018.

www.designforconservation.org/news/landscape-connectivity-workshop

Posted by: (Design for Conservation)


Studio Laos Final Review

HKU landscape undergraduates defended their design and regional planning strategies for northern Laos today in front of a cross-disciplinary panel of experts on environmental impact, politics and administration, geography, sociology, architecture and planning. Students and faculty were honored to have Dr. Ng Shui Meng, former Deputy Representative for UNICEF Laos and wife of 2012 disappeared Laos civil society leader Sombath Somphone, join from Vientiane.

Students addressed a wide range of impacts related to the planning, construction and operation of the China-Laos Railway. Some dealt with the uncertainly going forward, some questioned how communities could have prepared themselves differently, and some argued for greater responsibility of the rail, road, dam, or mine developer. Topic areas included:

Cross-border conservation and alternative ecotourism models;
China-Laos Railway support infrastructure, material sourcing, waste, reuse, and environmental impact;
Resettlement planning, compensation, and capacity building along the corridor;
Mitigating agricultural intensification and mining investment; and
Tourism capacity and urban expansion.

Congratulations to all for an incredible term!

Click here to view course synopsis and student work

View photos from the field

HKU students present their planning and design strategies for the China-Laos railway. By Aristo Chan.
HKU students present their planning and design strategies for the China-Laos railway. By Aristo Chan.
HKU students present their planning and design strategies for the China-Laos railway. By Aristo Chan.
HKU students present their planning and design strategies for the China-Laos railway. By Aristo Chan.
HKU students present their planning and design strategies for the China-Laos railway. By Aristo Chan.
HKU students present their planning and design strategies for the China-Laos railway. By Aristo Chan.
HKU students present their planning and design strategies for the China-Laos railway. By Aristo Chan.
HKU students present their planning and design strategies for the China-Laos railway. By Aristo Chan.
HKU students present their planning and design strategies for the China-Laos railway. By Aristo Chan.
HKU students present their planning and design strategies for the China-Laos railway. By Aristo Chan.
HKU students present their planning and design strategies for the China-Laos railway. By Aristo Chan.
HKU students present their planning and design strategies for the China-Laos railway. By Aristo Chan.
HKU students present their planning and design strategies for the China-Laos railway.
HKU students present their planning and design strategies for the China-Laos railway.

www.designforconservation.org/news/studio-laos-final-review

Posted by: (Design for Conservation)